Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why am I not hearing more about this? Where is the outrage??

Read link:
UN Accuses Syria of Crimes Against Humanity.

If this happened, as I suspect it must have, people/governments/etc. should not stand for it. This is inexcusable. Who does this to children?

And, since I am spouting off my opinion anyway, I am getting sick of those who are trying to tear apart the case against Sandusky. I realize that the lawyers must try, but the focus still is being taken off of the victimization of the children involved. I don't care about celebrity or sports when it comes to a child being hurt or victimized.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Go Now and Live": I love this

Source: http://shareworldlove.blogspot.com/2009/01/go-now-and-live.html

Interview with Nora Roberts

I have only read a few of her books, but I have to say that she is an acknowledged phenomenon. Julia Quinn posted on Facebook a link to this interview, and I cheered the entire time I read it. I love what Roberts has to say about the Romance genre, because it is so very true. Cheers to Nora Roberts! I bring you the link to another "In Defense of a Genre" now...click on the link below...you won't regret it. :)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Top Ten Authors I Want at My Thanksgiving Dinner

Today's Top Ten is the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish!

1. Anne Rice. Absolutely, positively. She can talk about anything, and I find her absolutely fascinating. I love listening to her speak--about books, current events, history, anything.

2. Charles Dickens. This is a no brainer. Obviously, we have some issues to work out.

3. Elizabeth Gaskell. I love North and South, and I think my friend Kelly and I would have a blast talking to her about it...if she would answer us.

4. Jane Mendle. My friend Jane is a novelist, and I adore her. So, she is definitely on my list!

5. Vicky Dreiling. She is so much fun on Twitter, and I think it would be a great time to have her at my Thanksgiving feast!

6. Lord Byron. Uh, yeah. Because I would at least try to get him into bed after mercilessly hammering him with questions about his poetry.

(Source: http://www.2020site.org/poetry/byron.html)

7. Percy Shelley. Hey. He's Byron's friend and the two of them together could definitely stir some things up. Plus, if my seduction scene falls through, maybe he could slip Byron some opium to help me...Okay...so that is a criminal act...but the guy is dead, so you can't drug a ghost. :)

8. Jayne Ann Krentz. I think that she is fascinating, and she is another person who enthusiastically talks about anything!

9. Oscar Wilde. I have such a thing for him. I know he wouldn't be interested in me, and maybe he (and not I) would end up with Byron at the end of the night, but it would be crazy to have him at the table.

(Source: http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/oscar-wilde-63.php)

10. Augusta Webster. My favorite female poet EVER. I would want a copy of her poems with me on a desert island.

But I would really want to add more! J. K. Rowling, as GF Book Mom reminded me, is a MUST! AGHHH!!! TOO MANY CHOICES!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Really? This is romantic?


Though he smolders well enough (if no longer sparkles), Mr. Pattinson is scarcely any better than his brother in beefcake. If that doesn’t matter, it’s because Mr. Pattinson’s heaviest lifting is over. His character is already well sketched in, and now all that remains is for the actor to play the part of the passionate, potentially dangerous vampire husband, which he — or, rather, his smart director — conveys with the startling image of Edward’s hands clenching the honeymoon bed until it explodes under his powerful touch. This image of sexual rough play is further capped the next morning by bruises now tattooing Bella’s body, branding that — along with her smiles (a private reverie reminiscent of Diane Lane’s postcoital raptures in “Unfaithful”) — shifts the story into another world.
(Source: New York Times review. See link below blog post title.)

Hey, I had as much fun reading Twilight as the next person, but I have to tell you that I find the entire series so disturbing. I also hated the last book in the series, so maybe I am biased. Still, seeing "bruises now tattooing Bella’s body" and her smiling about it...well, that just creeps me out.

I didn't make my goal.

I wanted to finish A Child's History of England. I really did. But I got caught up around Henry III. Oh, well.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I needed complete separation from reality, so...

...tonight I read Olivia Parker's Guarding a Notorious Lady. The title is hilarious because the lady is not exactly what I would call notorious! In any event, it was the perfect escape from reality that I needed. And check out the cover:

It is so fantastically old school that I couldn't resist. Yes, I have already discussed my love for romance novels, and when I am ready to completely veg out, nothing is better. The fact that the hero is Scottish? PERFECT. So, yes, the novel is complete fantasy, but who cares? It was a fun and quick read--and just what I wanted.

The book blurb from Amazon:

Exquisite trouble . . .

A woman of pristine breeding, Lady Rosalind Devine is also an unrepentant meddler and snoop— which is why her brother refuses to leave her to her own devices while on his wedding trip. But Rosalind will not make things easy for any unseen, unwanted “nursemaid”—and vows to use her considerable wiles to expose her mystery guardian.

Nicholas Kincaid, the Marquess of Winterbourne, agreed to secretly guard his friend’s spoiled, stubborn sister, though her infuriating penchant for mischief is causing him to question his decision. Though bound by the rules of society—and friendship— Rosalind’s spirit and sensuality have sparked a fierce desire in Nicholas to play a very different role in her life, one that entails passion, ecstasy . . . and unavoidable scandal.

I have never read a book by Olivia Parker, but I don't think this will be my last. In spite of the cover (which isn't quite a 1980s-1990s Fabio cover but still leads to the conclusion that this could be a "bodice ripper"), the book is very tame and sweet. There isn't a sex scene at all until almost the end. Of course, the hero and heroine end up together and married, but I really enjoyed their journey. I thought that Rosalind was fun and believable in many ways...and Nicholas...well, let's just say that I wouldn't mind meeting up with one like him the next time I am in Scotland. :)

I don't get a chance to read romance novels very often, especially with dissertation work and my job taking up so much reading time. When I do, however, I always hope that I made the right decision in the bookstore. Romance is such a mixed bag these days, and I am always hopeful that I am not wasting my money. I don't think I did with Parker's book. It was fun and allowed me a couple of hours of necessary escapism.

My next romance to read (whenever I actually get the time to read one again) is by Eloisa James. I have never read one of her books, but a fellow graduate student, who has met her and written scholarly articles about her work (and the romance genre, in general), recommended that I try one of her novels. So, I can't wait to read it!

And, more than anything, I am excited about the release date for Vicky Dreiling's next book, How to Ravish a Rake.

I can't believe that I have to wait until MARCH!!! UGH!!! So not fair. I don't even want pre-order it because Amazon NEVER gets it to me on the release day. So, I will be at the bookstore for my copy when it comes out.

Anyway, happy weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

The last words on the last page of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer say, "End of Volume One."

And thank goodness, too.

Because I really liked this book a lot. And, the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking, "There is no way that this author can finish this story in the short amount of pages left!"

The rundown of the plot: A sixteen-year-old girl going by the fake name of Mara Dyer starts her story by telling us how she survives a tragic accident that killed three of her friends. Seeking a new life, she and her family move to Miami, and Mara starts to suffer hallucinations. Post-traumatic stress disorder? Ghosts? Who knows? Even Mara tries to ignore the tormenting visions when she becomes the new flame of school bad boy, Noah. But there are things she can't ignore...things like the visions, the fact that other people she comes in contact with start dying, and the strange connection and intensity that keeps building between herself and Noah.

Am I being vague? Yep. And that is because the mystery of what the heck is going on is a huge part of this book...and it isn't even entirely clear at the end.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I suppose, would be categorized under "paranormal YA romance," but this book is not so cut and dry. There are no sparkling vampires, and besides the creepy visions...well, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of "paranormal" actually happening. There even comes a point in the book where I wondered why I was still reading. I mean, not a whole lot was happening...but there is something about this book! The writing is excellent, and Hodkins keeps your attention easily. All of the characters are so interesting. There is a bit of cliche in the portrayal of Noah, and the way he seemed so typical of this type of book really bummed me out for a while--until the end. The end is amazing. And Noah became so much more interesting to me in the last few chapters because the stakes are so high.

That doesn't sound good, does it? I mean, it doesn't sound good that the male lead in the book doesn't become super interesting until the last forty pages or so? Again, it is another odd quirk to this book. He is a complete cliche until the end (at least in my opinion). Rich, beautiful, devoted to the girl, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes, I thought that I was reading a new version of Edward Cullen. But...no. The tension between good and evil is super complicated at the end, and I love it.

Mara is more believable. Her circumstances and vulnerability (not in the way you would imagine) make her incredibly interesting. She is a fighter in so many ways, and the author seems to really understand her. (I don't find that to be true in a lot of novels, you know? Especially in teen novels.) I LOVE her friend Jamie. He is one of the most interesting people in the book...and I hope he will be back. Most of the secondary characters are simplistic, but there are a few who could be really interesting.

My hope for this series? My hope is that the author planned it well. This is Hodkin's first book. It was great. But if she didn't plan the series well, then it could totally bomb. (I am thinking about my reaction to the second book in the Hush, Hush series...ugh...I can't even think about buying the third right now. Yes, I know some people loved it, but I just didn't like it at all. Worst of all, it has kept me from reading the second book in the Fallen series--and I liked Fallen so much better than Hush, Hush. I just can't bear to be disappointed!)

Now, then...a warning: this book might be marketed for teens, but the only thing YA about it is that it involves teenagers who go to high school. The humor is completely adult--over and over again. That being said, I probably wouldn't have gotten much of it at age sixteen. Maybe I was just sheltered, but I was considerably older than sixteen before I even knew what the term "safe word" applied to. (And, no, there is none of that taking place in the book.) It is just the humor. I am not one to censor books, but I know that I have several teenagers who read this blog. So, you have been forewarned! Just be aware that we are dealing with lots of sexual references in this book. Like I said, I loved the story, and I don't care about these references other than feeling like I need to say something here for readers who want to know these kinds of things ahead of time. The only drawback for me had to do with the believability of it all. I have known super smart, savvy, and sophisticated teens...and none of them were this adult or sly in their humor.

All of that being said, I really enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait for the next one to come out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What am I reading? A "W. W. W. Wednesday" post...

W. W. W. Wednesdays are hosted by Should Be Reading's blog. Here are the questions and my answers...

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

1. What are you currently reading? I am about halfway through The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

This one is really hard to put down! I am really enjoying it and will write my review of it soon. :)

2. What did you recently finish reading? I just finished reading Changeless, by Gail Carriger.

It is the second book in "The Parasol Protectorate" series that begins with Soulless. These books are so great! The humor is wonderful, and Carriger is such a quirky writer. I just love her!

3. What do you think you will read next? For fun? I am not sure. But I will be finishing up Charles Dickens's A Child's History of England this weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dickens Quote of the Day:

The beginning of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (probably my favorite beginning ever...so completely dark and disturbing):

An ancient English Cathedral Tower? How can the ancient English Cathedral tower be here! The well-known massive gray square tower of its old Cathedral? How can that be here! There is no spike of rusty iron in the air, between the eye and it, from any point of the real prospect. What is the spike that intervenes, and who has set it up? Maybe it is set up by the Sultan’s orders for the impaling of a horde of Turkish robbers, one by one. It is so, for cymbals clash, and the Sultan goes by to his palace in long procession. Ten thousand scimitars flash in the sunlight, and thrice ten thousand dancing-girls strew flowers. Then, follow white elephants caparisoned in countless gorgeous colours, and infinite in number and attendants. Still the Cathedral Tower rises in the background, where it cannot be, and still no writhing figure is on the grim spike. Stay! Is the spike so low a thing as the rusty spike on the top of a post of an old bedstead that has tumbled all awry? Some vague period of drowsy laughter must be devoted to the consideration of this possibility.

Shaking from head to foot, the man whose scattered consciousness has thus fantastically pieced itself together, at length rises, supports his trembling frame upon his arms, and looks around. He is in the meanest and closest of small rooms. Through the ragged window-curtain, the light of early day steals in from a miserable court. He lies, dressed, across a large unseemly bed, upon a bedstead that has indeed given way under the weight upon it. Lying, also dressed and also across the bed, not longwise, are a Chinaman, a Lascar, and a haggard woman. The two first are in a sleep or stupor; the last is blowing at a kind of pipe, to kindle it. And as she blows, and shading it with her lean hand, concentrates its red spark of light, it serves in the dim morning as a lamp to show him what he sees of her.

‘Another?’ says this woman, in a querulous, rattling whisper. ‘Have another?’

Top Ten Tuesday

"Top Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf For The Longest But I've Never Read:"

1. The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

2. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

3. Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell

4. The Confidence Man, by Herman Melville

5. Mosses from an Old Manse, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

6. Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte

7. Romola, by George Eliot

8. Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer (I know...everyone tells me it is great!)

9. Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens

10. The Victorians, by A. N. Wilson

I vow to read at least one of these books this year!

...for more about "Top Ten Tuesday," see The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I am still stuffed!

Wow. This weekend was CRAZY--especially in the food department!

On Friday night, the cleaning bug took hold of me, and I cleaned my bedroom from top to bottom--dusting, trashing junk/cleaning out old stuff, etc. It felt so good to get rid of things.

On Saturday, my uncle came over for his birthday lunch (first occasion of the day to eat too much). Then, I went to the Kilgore house (where I work) to open it up for a group of creative writers who were telling made up histories of the house. It was a lot of fun! I raced home and made the cranberry sauce for Lisa's Pre-Thanksgiving feast.

Lisa's dinner was FANTASTIC--as usual! We all ate so much! Gnocchi, brie, champagne, turkey, roast, potatoes, green beans, French onion soup, etc...all topped off with Tuxedo cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Oh. YES...

It was so good...and we were all stuffed...but WOW. AMAZING. Seriously. If you have a chance, you need to try it.

By the time I was able to force myself out of the seat and into my car, I seriously didn't think that I would ever be able to eat again. (Of course, isn't it amazing how soon you become hungry again? Ugh. Logically, from the amount of calories I consumed that night, I shouldn't have needed food for at least three days. Yet, by the next day, I was hungry again.)

Sunday was a relatively lazy day, but it had to be. I was nearly comatose from the food.

So, here we are, a week and a half outside of Thanksgiving...and I am gearing up to do it all over again!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Priceless! A "Digested Read" of Bleak House:

My favorite passage:

In Chancery, having noted My Lady Dedlock's interest, Mr Tulkinghorn is enquiring about the identity of the scrivener. He is a man called Nemo who has conveniently died in his lodgings. But how? Perhaps young Jo the crossing sweeper can help us. And who is Jo? Why he is the essence of Victorian pathos, the lowest of the low, unnoticed and unloved by society and yet the very symbol of purity and goodness. "He wuz wery good to me," Jo says in a manner some may find endearing. "I don't kno nuffink." And yet if he knows so little why is it that this mysterious woman of very obvious bearing is asking young Jo to show her the unmarked grave where Nemo is buried? Be assured that Mr Tulkinghorn's spies will find out. My, how slow and convoluted the story has become, and still so many minor characters to introduce, for how else can Mr Dickens spin out the serialisation into 20 monthly parts? Yet if you want to hear of Miss Flite, the Snagsbys, Mrs Rouncewell, the Smallweeds, Krook and others, then I shall have to refer you to the original text: for now be content to meet Mr Guppy, the young lawyer, who has noticed an uncommon resemblance between My Lady Dedlock and Miss Esther Summerson.

Full "Digested Read" can be found here.

Thanks, Dickens Blog!

Looking forward to the weekend!

I have so much to do, but I am very happy that it is Friday. It is going to be a very busy weekend--birthdays, pre-Thanksgiving feast, readings at the Kilgore house--but at least it is all fun.

I have to say that I am so glad that I will be getting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner this weekend! It will be great and a lot of fun, so I may be too stuffed to to type by Saturday night. :)

Dickens: Quote of the Day

"Some part of the edifice had been a baronial chapel, and here were effigies of warriors stretched upon their beds of stone with folded hands--cross-legged, those who had fought in the Holy Wars-- girded with their swords, and cased in armour as they had lived. Some of these knights had their own weapons, helmets, coats of mail, hanging upon the walls hard by, and dangling from rusty hooks. Broken and dilapidated as they were, they yet retained their ancient form, and something of their ancient aspect. Thus violent deeds live after men upon the earth, and traces of war and bloodshed will survive in mournful shapes long after those who worked the desolation are but atoms of earth themselves." --Chp. 53, The Old Curiosity Shop

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dickens: Quote of the Day

"Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man's a blacksmith, and one's a whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come. If there's been any fault at all to-day, it's mine. You and me is not two figures to be together in London; nor yet anywheres else but what is private, and beknown, and understood among friends. It ain't that I am proud, but that I want to be right, as you shall never see me no more in these clothes. I'm wrong in these clothes. I'm wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or off th' meshes. You won't find half so much fault in me if you think of me in my forge dress, with my hammer in my hand, or even my pipe. You won't find half so much fault in me if, supposing as you should ever wish to see me, you come and put your head in at the forge window and see Joe the blacksmith, there, at the old anvil, in the old burnt apron, sticking to the old work. I'm awful dull, but I hope I've beat out something nigh the rights of this at last. And so GOD bless you, dear old Pip, old chap, GOD bless you!"--Joe Gargery, Great Expectations

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

2012: The Year of Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in 1812, so many scholars and fans of the Victorian author are celebrating his 200th birthday with special conferences, events, publications, and new editions of his works.

(Source: Library of Congress)

It is my personal mission to finish reading all of Dickens's novels in 2012 (there are several that I have never read).

I would like to challenge all readers to finish at least one Dickens novel in 2012. If you have never read a book by Charles Dickens, try Great Expectations, The Old Curiosity Shop, or even A Christmas Carol. If you have read all of his novels, commit to reading his short stories or plays, or even pick up a biography (the standard is Peter Ackroyd's Dickens, but Claire Tomalin just published Dickens: A Life).

There is no excuse for not finding his novels! They are always at libraries (public, school, and university), and there are free e-texts in abundance.

A good bibliography: Wikipedia Charles Dickens Bibliography

Totally Random Fact About Me:

My secret ambition (well, one of them, anyway) is to be a translator for the FBI. :)

I don't know why.


I fell asleep at 7:45 last night! And I slept until 6:30 this morning. I actually have energy...I had forgotten this feeling...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: First for me...

I wandered over to one of my new favorite book blogs, I Swim for Oceans, and I saw that the author has a "Top Ten Tuesday" feature going on. This is what the author says about it:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. They'd love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new top ten list that one of our bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So...I think it is a great idea. And, this week's Top Ten theme is:

Top Ten Books I Read That Were Out Of My Comfort Zone.

Right now, this is entirely appropriate, because today's post was going to revolve around exactly such a book. So, here goes my list...


1. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. I start with this book because it is the one I was reading last night and considered posting about today. I can't handle this book, and I haven't made it past the first few pages. Though it is obviously one of the best explorations of grief that I have ever come across (clear from the first few pages), I just can't read it. I have had so many people tell me how wonderful this book is (and they are right), but the fact is that the subject matter hits too close to home. The book explores Joan's reaction to her husband's sudden death from cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation. For those of you who know, this is what my dad survived. Unfortunately, Didion's husband did not survive, and in the first few pages I read very familiar words of scenes that I had already experienced.

The point at which I had to stop: when she described the hospital's plastic bag that contained her husband's clothing. The thing is, I have a memory associated with this same moment. When I finally went home from the hospital so that I could check on Casey, my mom gave me the clear plastic bag from the hospital that contained my dad's clothing. He was still on life support at the time, and we were all exhausted. I don't remember driving home later that evening, but I remember standing in the kitchen, Casey right next to me, as I took his clothing out of the bag. I just remembered being horrified to see his shirt ripped to shreds, the result of paramedics trying to work on him that night. I didn't know what to do with it, because I didn't know if he was going to live or die. Casey sniffed it for a long time, and I just put it back in the bag. I didn't tell my mom about it until days later, when they came home. I told her that I was going to throw it away, because it was too painful to look at and I didn't want dad to see it. So, I did. I threw it away. In fact, I didn't want anything in the house that had to do with that night. I threw away food that we ate, clothes that we wore--anything.

So, when I read Joan Didion's reaction to her husband's clothing...well, it brought back really hard memories. I didn't get much sleep last night, to say the least. That being said, if you can handle such a subject, you should read Didion's book. The writing is beautiful, and it is an important book.

2. Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy. I have already written about this book many times (such as here). This is one of the darkest novels I have ever read, yet it entranced me . Hardy forces you to confront the best and worst of yourself. Even though it was hard to read and stuck with me for a long time, I love this book.

3. Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison. Nothing makes me angrier than child abuse (yes, I want that "judge" in Texas to be taken off the bench ASAP), and this book brutally confronts that topic. I read it in a class a few years ago, and it was one of the most uncomfortable moments in my reading life.

4. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. I don't add this to the list because it made me uncomfortable; instead, I add it because, when I picked it up, I had never read science fiction. I loved this book. The subject matter/morality at play is complex and it did make me uncomfortable at times, but the story is so engaging and fascinating that I had to continue reading!

5. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte. I am actually rereading this one at the moment. All of the Bronte books have the ability to make me feel uncomfortable (even though I love them), but this one REALLY makes me uncomfortable. I know that most people think it is Charlotte Bronte's best novel, but I actually get angry when I read it. Something about Lucy and M. Paul just makes me want to scream.

6. Keesha's House, by Helen Frost. Frost's novel is a "verse" novel. In other words, it is poetry in novel form. It is a book marketed to a young adult audience, and it is one of the most devastatingly heartbreaking and beautiful short works that I have come across. The story follows seven teens as they cope with very difficult circumstances. It is amazing. Why is it out of my comfort zone? One: I had never read a verse novel. Two: It was an assignment to read one in my young adult library services class, and my stuck up opinion at the time was that the only reason kids would check this out was because it looked short. But I totally changed my mind. This book has more depth than most books for young adults--probably because it is written in verse form. You feel the restriction of the protagonists' lives in the restriction of space and words. It is beautiful.

7. By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead, by Julie Ann Peters. Oh. My. God. This book. THIS BOOK. I love it. I was reluctant to read it, because it discusses suicide of a teenager. Having never read a novel by Peters, I didn't know what to expect. It is incredibly dark and disturbing, but it is also beautiful and has a good message. I was so impressed with it that I wrote the author--and she wrote me back! This is another book that sticks with you for ages. I also highly recommend her novel Luna, about a transgender teen.

8. The Chronology of Water, by Lydia Yuknavitch. Another book that makes you hold your breath. I came across this book in a review and immediately downloaded it. Had it not been for the review I read, however, this is not a book I would have picked up on my own. Her treatment of emotional distance, substance abuse, grief, etc. is beautifully rendered. It is not an easy read, and you find yourself needing to come up for air quite often. Her story is amazing, though.

9. House Rules: A Memoir, by Rachel Sontag. I am including so many memoirs because this is a genre that I never read until this last year--and I started with House Rules. I found a copy of this in my local bookstore. It was an old library copy, and BAM was selling it for a dollar. I had to take my dad to his jazz concert and I didn't have anything to read, so I picked this one up. I couldn't put it down. The emotional and psychological abuse portrayed in this memoir is so haunting that I had to find out more. The book has an incredible afterlife. I wrote an Amazon.com review here, if you are interested in more.

10. Kim, by Rudyard Kipling. I had never read this book until a seminar I took a few years ago. I had never read The Jungle Books (mainly because I don't like talking animal movies or books) and I wasn't looking forward to reading this one. I have to say, though it is a difficult read (definitely not children's lit), I fell in love with this one.

Well, there you have it! My Tuesday Top Ten. Go forth and read.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Julie came to town!

Julie is probably the friend I have known the longest in my life. We met as six-year-olds, when I visited Indiana to see my great-great uncle for the first time. She and her family lived across the road from him, and I still remember her coming over to ask me to go swimming. As the years passed, we played in fields and barns, talked about toys and boys, and, basically, just grew up together. I would return each year (and we would write letters in between), and each year we picked up exactly where we left off. We have remained friends for nearly 30 years and it is still amazing to us that when we get together it is as if no time has passed at all!

She and her husband, Jason, came through town tonight. They are off to New Orleans in the morning, but we had a great reunion. I miss her already! It has been at least six years since the last time we saw one another, but I wish we could see each other every year again! Thanks for stopping by, Julie! Love ya!

It is back!!!

The holiday season truly has begun!! I look forward to my first gingerbread latte every year! Last year, mom tried it for the first time. She loved the drink, but the experience was bad for her. She doesn't drink many caffeinated beverages...and we had a tall (small) latte at 7:00 p.m. on the evening before Thanksgiving. Well...she was up all night! She likes the lattes, but we have a rule that we will no longer purchase lattes after 4:00 p.m. (It should be noted that my caffeine addicted body did not react at all.)

Today, I purchased my first gingerbread latte of the season right after lunch. I didn't know that they were available yet, so I had settled on splurging on a Pumpkin Spice latter. I almost cried out with happiness when I saw it listed on the menu. Happy day!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Thank you, Hannah!!!

I love my postcard!! I am a horrible person for not writing you yet...but I promise that it is coming. The new Harry Potter DVD comes out in eleven days...so you will be getting a long letter from me.



I am so excited that today is November 1st!! I love, love, love November. It is the beginning of the holiday season (in my mind, anyway), and it is the month that has my most favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.

I love the symbolism of Thanksgiving, and I think it is the best of the holidays because it is just about getting together with friends and family, sharing a meal. There is something deeply spiritual about preparing and sharing food with a group of people, whether they be strangers or people we know. Of course, I love Christmas, too, but it has become so commercialized that there are only two things I like about it: 1) the midnight church service; 2) the crazy fun of having the "this amount of food and combination of drinks" doesn't make sense buffet at my house. You can see a past scene of that here.

I will miss Casey this year, though. :(

But back to Thanksgiving...

Thanksgiving now makes me think about a friend I had, Robert (Bobby) Hernandez. Everyone I knew called him Bobby, but I always called him Robert. He owned a very popular local Mexican restaurant and was one of the most giving people I have ever met. On a few Thanksgivings, we met in the middle of the night and cooked for those in need. It was great. We always had a wonderful time. Robert died earlier this year, far too soon. So, this Thanksgiving, I will be sending up special thoughts to him.
Here's to you, Robert.

So, enjoy the holidays. I know we always say that we will try to do better and relax a little more...and then we don't and we become crazy! But just realize that all of this is about people--not anything else.